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Pens Points: Off on the Right Foot

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Penguins rout Flyers 7-0 in Game 1 to begin title defense. Sidney Crosby tallies a hat trick highlighted by another unreal goal from mid-air. Penguins join NHL in honoring victims of the Humboldt tragedy. Assistant coach Mark Recchi knows the Pennsylvania rivalry well. Ryan Shazier gets crowd pumped up prior to puck drop. Oleksiak excited to make playoff debut.

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Starting off the playoffs with a victory is a big confidence booster for a team but what the Penguins did last night to the Flyers in Game 1 was not only a boost of confidence, it was a message sent to the rest of the NHL.

Bryan Rust opened the scoring just 2:38 into the game and the Penguins didn’t stop scoring the rest of the night. Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin added tallies in the opening period for a 3-0 Pens lead. In the second, Jake Guentzel got in on the act with a power play goal then Sidney Crosby dazzled once more with another out of the air goal for a 5-0 lead and forced Brian Elliott out of the game. Petr Mrazek took over in goal but it did not matter as Crosby completed the hat trick in the third period to wrap up a 7-0 win for the home side.

Not to be outdone, goaltender Matt Murray added to his playoff shutout streak with another one in Game 1. Murray’s shutout streak in the playoffs now sits at 206:08. His last goal allowed in the playoffs was during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final last season.

You can read our recap right here.

Game 2 is tomorrow night.

Recover from last night with this morning’s edition of Pens Points...

Before we get to the news I wanted to open with this amazing stat:

ICYMI: We here at the Pensburgh made our predictions for Pens/Flyers (Spoiler: we like the Pens) along with picks for the rest of the first round series. [Pensburgh]

Playoff hockey means the potential of playoff overtime every night. It’s one of the most exciting moments in sports, if your team isn’t the one participating. Over the years, the Penguins have played their fair share of playoff hockey which means their fair share of overtime games. Let’s look back at some of those memories. [Pensburgh]

A special guest helped Iceburgh get the PPG Paints Arena crowd fired up before face-off last night. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier led the crowd in a “Let’s Go Pens” chant as Iceburgh beat his drum alongside. [Trib Live]

Since the Humboldt bus tragedy last Friday teams from across the NHL have reached out and offered support for the victims and their families. The Penguins joined their fellow NHL franchises by donating to the Humboldt GoFundMe fundraiser and will be wearing a special decal on their helmets throughout the playoffs. [Penguins]

Penguins assistant coach Mark Recchi has been on both sides of the Penguins/Flyers rivalry so he is plenty familiar with the bad blood between the two teams. Now behind the bench, Recchi is still looking forward to the rivalry matchup as he attempts to help lead the Pens to a third straight Stanley Cup. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

You probably saw this while you were watching the game but in case you missed it or just want to watch it again, Sidney Crosby scored another out of the air in Game 1. This is now the third time he has done this since the middle of March. It’s almost becoming the routine way of scoring goals for him. [Pensburgh]

When the two headed monster of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is on top of their games they are almost impossible to stop. The Flyers found this out the hard way last night as Malkin scored an incredible end-to-end goal and Crosby recorded a hat trick that included the goal mentioned above. [Penguins]

Two Penguins’ players were making their playoff debut last night and one of them was Jamie Oleksiak. Since coming to Pittsburgh in a trade with the Dallas Stars, Oleksiak has provided a solid presence on the blue line and the young defenseman was looking forward to playing some playoff hockey. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Wednesday that the NHL Awards will remain in Las Vegas for at least the next three years. This year’s awards will be held on June 20th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. [ESPN]

Las Vegas is feeling hockey fever at the moment with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights making the playoffs in their inaugural season. To celebrate, The Bellagio created a special chocolate statue of Marc-Andre Fleury that is displayed in their lobby. [CBS Sports]

Tod Leiweke is a major player in Seattle Sports, helping build the brands of the Seattle Sounders and Seattle Seahawks as they blossomed into championship franchises. Leiweke will now take on his next challenge, a potential NHL team in the city. He was named CEO of the hopeful expansion franchise. [The Seattle Times]

Scores from around the league...

Winnipeg Jets 3, Minnesota Wild 2 (Winnipeg leads series 1-0)

Vegas Golden Knights 1, Los Angeles Kings 0 (Vegas leads series 1-0)